MX23RW : Thursday, February 21 08:37:10
Aug 23, 2018 at 6pm UK at ​Marijampolės sporto centro stadione (Marijampolė)
FK SuduvaFK Suduva
1-1
Celtic
Verbickas (13')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Ntcham (3')

Result: Celtic Europa League group stage hopes in balance following FK Suduva draw

Result: Celtic held by FK Suduva in EL playoff
© Reuters
Celtic's hopes of reaching the Europa League remain in the balance following their 1-1 draw with FK Suduva in Thursday's playoff first leg in Lithuania.

Celtic's hopes of reaching the Europa League group stage have been left in the balance following their 1-1 draw with FK Suduva in Thursday's playoff first leg in Lithuania.

The Hoops, who dropped into the competition following their failure to overcome AEK Athens in the Champions League, got off to the perfect start at Marijampole's ARVI Futbolo Arena.

After just three minutes, Mikey Johnston curled a cross from the left flank towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Olivier Ntcham was in space and on hand to head home the opener.

However, the hosts equalised 10 minutes later as a free kick from just inside the Celtic half was poorly defended by Brendan Rodgers's charges.

Ovidijus Verbickas was left unmarked and able to head into an empty net after goalkeeper Craig Gordon had come for the delivery but failed to get near the ball.

The Scottish Premiership champions almost retook the lead when James Forrest controlled a cross in the box and let rip with a powerful drive towards the bottom corner of the net.

However, Suduva goalkeeper Ivan Kardum pulled off a stunning reaction save to send the shot wide of target as Celtic had to settle for a draw.

The return leg at Parkhead takes place next Thursday.

SUDUVA (4-1-4-1): Kardum; Svrljuga, Hayduchyk, Jankauskas, Slavickas; Leimonas; Finkler (Offenbacher 45'), Cadjenovic, Verbickas (Matulevicius 90'), Vezevicius (Kasparavicius 60'); Cicilia

CELTIC (3-1-4-2): Gordon; Gamboa (Izaguirre 66'), Simunovic (Lustig 52'), Ajer; Brown; Ntcham, Forrest, McGregor, Tierney; Dembele, Johnston (Griffiths 66')

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Brendan Rodgers watches on during the Champions League qualifying game between AEK Athens and Celtic on August 14, 2018
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